For the majority of people, their modern diets dictate excessive consumption of both fatty meats and cheese. Even if they are vegetarian, a vast proportion of meat substitutes in meals are various cheeses – not exactly heart friendly. Furthermore, when people eat vegetables they tend to boil them for far too long – thus decreasing their nutritional value. So, everybody knows that a healthy diet involves eating less meat and cheese, but not everyone realizes that overcooking vegetables can make this so called healthy diet completely void!
So what is the best way to eat your vegetables?
Raw is a great way to ensure that you get all the nutritional value from your vegetables – and some of them taste great raw. Imagine a primitive man foraging for vegetables; do you think he would be looking to sauté them before eating? I think not, raw vegetables would be a regular addition. Admittedly, eating raw vegetables is much easier in the summer when it is warm. Some could even be considered refreshing.
However, some vegetables simply do not taste very nice at all when eaten raw (or take a little getting used to) and we are no longer primitive man. One prime example is being broccoli. I do know people that enjoy the raw taste of broccoli but on the whole, I do not think that people enjoy the raw taste if broccoli. So if you have to cook certain vegetables, what is the best way?
Avoid boiling vegetables at all costs. Boiling results in the vegetables losing many of their nutrients, and let’s be honest, there is nothing worse than trying to eat an over boiled vegetable. It is limp and tasteless.
Roasting vegetables can result in food that tastes far different to boiling. However, due to the high heats involved and the amount of time it takes to roast vegetables, the final product is low in nutrients.
A much less aggressive way to cook vegetables and can produce some really fantastic tasting food. Put some spices in the water to gently infuse the vegetables with whichever taste is your preference.
There are two main variables that you have to consider when frying. How much oil you use, and how long you cook them for. If you have a decent non stick pan then you should be able to get away with using very little oil. It is important to make sure your pan is very hot before frying the vegetables. In this way, you should only fry them for a couple of minutes to cook them – the inside will not be overcooked and the outside should be lightly singed.
So, where possible experiment with raw vegetables. If you can identify vegetables that you like raw (maybe with a dipping sauce) you can then try to incorporate them into your diet. It is the only way to ensure a healthy diet, the way nature intended. However, if you do have to cook your vegetables, try not to cook for them for very long and use the steamer or frying pan instead of roasting or boiling.